Stepping Forward: Malawi's Deep Dive into Child Labour Data within Tea and Coffee Supply Chains

Article | 30 August 2023
Blantyre, Malawi, August 6, 2023 – The National Statistical Office (NSO) of Malawi, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization's (ILO) ACCEL Africa project, successfully concluded a comprehensive five-day technical workshop from July 31 to August 5, 2023, in Blantyre. The event addressed the prevalent issues and data shortages of child labour within the tea and coffee value chains.

In 2015, the National Statistical Office revealed through its National Child Labour Survey that an alarming 38% of children between the ages of 5 and 17 were engaged in child labour activities. The findings further highlighted that a significant majority of these children (66.2%) were employed in high-risk jobs within agriculture, forestry, and fishing. Domestic work accounted for 27.5%, while other sectors comprised a minor 6.3%.

Furthermore, the event also draws from a survey conducted in districts like Mulanje, Thyolo, Ntchisi, Mzimba, and Chitipa between 7 to 21 November 2022. Thus, the workshop aimed to provide a detailed analysis of the data gathered.

The recent workshop brought these issues back into the spotlight, especially focusing on child labour within the tea and coffee sectors, which had been overlooked in the 2015 survey.

The primary objectives of the workshop were:
  • Comprehensive data analysis and review.
  • Deliberation on the proposed report outline.
  • Identification of key indicators for effective reporting.
Throughout the event, participants rigorously worked on producing statistical tables that will be crucial for the final survey report. These tables span a range of areas, including education, forms of work, hazardous tasks, and household characteristics.

Participants included officials from NSO, all of whom were pivotal in both the data collection phase and are now crucial for its analysis and subsequent reporting.

The event draws the following results:
  • Statistical tables, and respective graphs and charts were produced
  • A draft report, with the tables, charts and graphs already inserted, was presented and feedback was provided.
  • A draft roadmap to guide the proceeding activities was reviewed.
The workshop not only served as a foundation for the forthcoming report but also reignited the conversation on child labour, especially in niche agricultural sectors.

In the wake of this pivotal event, the next steps will involve drafting a comprehensive survey report, which will then undergo a thorough validation process at a national meeting. Taking into account feedback and insights from this validation, the report will be refined and finalized. Upon completion, the NSO will ensure a broad dissemination of the findings across both national and district levels to maximize its impact.